City of Steamboat getting more serious about pursuing new city hall at newspaper building | SteamboatToday.com

City of Steamboat getting more serious about pursuing new city hall at newspaper building

Susan Saari answers the phone at Steamboat Springs City Hall.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs City Manager Gary Suiter is optimistic the city’s elected officials will soon take another step toward finding a new home for city hall.

Suiter on Tuesday night will ask the City Council to spend between $5,000 to $6,500 for an appraisal of Steamboat Pilot & Today's current headquarters at Elk River Road and U.S. Highway 40.

"I think (the council) has expressed enough interest that it's likely to go forward," Suiter said of the appraisal funding request.

The city has also prepared a list of ways it could pay for the building should the council continue to express interest in the idea.

Suiter is recommending that before the city pull the trigger on any purchase of the newspaper building, it should first look at the cost of other options, including renovating the existing city hall on 10th Street.

Suiter has said the current city hall building, which was built in 1960, lacks space and is in need of renovations or replacement. So in recent months, the city has been eying the larger newspaper headquarters as a possible place to house new city offices.

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In addition to 10,680 feet of office space and 12,542 square feet of warehouse space, the sale would include 1.5 acres of vacant land along the highway.

An offer has reportedly been made in recent weeks on the newspaper property from another potential buyer. But listing agent Cam Boyd said last week the building was not under contract, and negotiations were ongoing.

"I think what I understand is that the owners (of the newspaper building) are being patient and gauging our level of interest," Suiter said.

The building is owned by Worldwest LLC, which sold Steamboat Today to Swift Communications last year.

City finance director Kim Weber recently compiled a list of ways the city could pay for the purchase of the newspaper building, which is listed by the newspaper's former owners for $5.5 million.

Some options involve going to voters for a property tax increase, while others rely on the sale of the city's existing downtown properties or using a financing tool called certificates of participation.

After ordering an architectural assessment of the building, the city estimates it could be purchased and renovated into a new city hall at a cost of $6.5 to $7.5 million.

If the city doesn't proceed with the purchase for a new city hall, Suiter said Monday he didn’t currently have a feel for when the city would pursue another option.

"The positive is it's being talked about, and it’s on our capital projects list now," he said.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10.

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